BARKAN SUPERIEUR Shiraz
The wine is based on Shiraz grapes harvested at the magnificent Kiriat-Anavim vineyard, perched on Terra Rosa terraces on the Judean Hills, at 650-700 meters above sea level.
The Shiraz blocks at Kiriat-Anavim are spread on several narrow terraces, which have been rebuilt along the lines of ancient vine terraces. Indeed the name of the place means "the village of the grapes". The very thin, stony iron-red soil is quite poor and very well draining, encouraging the vines to send roots deep into the mother limestone rock. The yields are naturally low; about 6 tons per hectare in 2006 (40 hl/ha). The ripe bunches were deeply black in color and simply exploded with fruit flavors.
To enhance the wines' aromatic complexity 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 4% Merlot were added to the core of Shiraz (86%). Both originate from high-altitude, low-yielding vineyards in the Upper Galilee.
Such great fruit calls for classic winemaking. The Shiraz fruit was fermented in classic upright fermenters, with maceration time exceeding 4 weeks. This favors a style which is very well structured, but with a softer mouth-feel and great aromatic complexity at the expense of obvious fruitiness. This wine was aged in French oak barriques, of various tonneliers, for 18 months. The Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot components were vinified and aged in a similar manner. The final proportion of new oak is 80%, as the fruit concentration was judged and the wines' overall structure to be strong enough to handle this oak and benefit from it. Each barrel composing this cuvee was individually selected by Barkan's team of winemakers. The wine was bottled with no fining and one coarse filtration. The bottles were then laid to rest for several months at Barkan's cool cellars, before the wine was released.
Color is deep ruby-purple. Typical Shiraz notes on the nose: spicy blue and black fruits such as blackberries and blueberries, notes of licorice and ground black pepper, with hints of new leather and roasted coffee beens. On the palate, the wine offers ripe but not jammy berry fruit overlaid with spice and minerality, laced with subtle notes of vanilla and cedar wood. The wine is well structured, with fine-grained tannins and a medium to full body; yet it escapes heaviness and over-ripeness. The finish is long, brimming with elegant mineral and spicy notes. In style, it is more Northern Rhône than Barossa Valley. A true "Vin de garde" this Superieur is at present tightly-wound and would benefit from 1-2 hours in a decanter.